This qualitative study examined the interaction of families and school in a local community. Data were gathered through document analysis; semi-structured interviews with family members, community members, and school professionals; group interviews; street interviews; and observer field notes. A conceptual framework consisting of postcolonial theory, critical social theory, and thirdspace theory guided data analysis. This study documented the deep and pervasive nature of school's institutional power, and severely limited opportunities available to family members to shift the power balance in their favor. The relations of power were evident in the enactment of parent involvement policy and practices that constrained family members' school involvement, the contradiction between school's purpose as stated and enacted, families' restricted access to school information and space, and the construction of family member roles through encounters with school. This study also revealed the potential of organizing to shift the balance of power in favor of families and the local community.
Education and Human Development
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